After becoming a household name on Dancing with the Stars
, Julianne Hough is concentrating on the next stage of her career.
"I'm actually going to take next season off and really focus on my music," Hough told PEOPLE backstage at the 36th annual American Music Awards in L.A. Sunday. "Get ready for the next record, start writing, going on tour, and promoting this record."
In fact, after Thanksgiving, Hough, 20, plans to go to Nashville to record and settle into her new place. "I'm so excited to go back," said Hough, who just bought a condo down South.
Hough, whose self-titled debut CD debuted at No. 1 on Billboard
's Country Album chart, announced last week she's hanging up
shoes next season.
Hough, 20, first appeared on DWTS
in March 2007, quickly became on the show's most popular dancers and has reigned twice as Dancing
queen, with partners Apolo Anton Ohno
and Helio Castroneves
But, Hough–who fell sick this season and had her appendix removed in October–says she's not looking back. "I'm sad to say that I don't really, but I'm sure I probably will when the show comes around," said Hough of missing the ballroom."
But she hopes fans who once rooted her and partner Cody Linley
will now cast their votes for her brother Derek
and his partner Brooke Burke
on tonight's final.
Says Hough of the mirror-ball trophy: "Keep it in the family!" --Nicholas White, with reporting by Jessica Herndon